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I'm a young software engineer who graduated less than 2 years ago from a top university in the country I'm currently working/residing (living far away from my home country).

After graduation, I had to quickly look for employment to get a visa in a not so great company. Fast forward 1 year and 6 months later, the company goes bankrupt and I look for another job.

Now I have an offer from a similar company. The company is not so great and I guess will go bankrupt in 3~4 years at worst. However the pay is quite high for the local market, so I'm hesitating between:

  1. Go there, save some money for a few years and look for something else after (probably try to do an MBA in an other country)
  2. Just keep looking for a few months and live on unemployment pay. If I find a good (bigger, which would add a nicer line on my resume) company go there. Else... regret the pay I could have had.
  3. Go to this small company and keep on looking in the meanwhile, maybe changing company again in 3~4 months.

My question is NOT about which choice is better - this is up to me.

My question is: in a few years, if you were a hiring manager, which option would look the best for you on a resume? Having 2 small companies on a resume with a good college degree? having some months of unemployment? or switching company after only 3 months (i.e. see 2 companies in less than 2 years)?

My main fear is that if I stay there a few years it will be quite hard for me to change job to a company with better job security after. Do you think it's true?

Thanks!

closed as primarily opinion-based by Masked Man, gnat, Mister Positive, Chris E, Michael Grubey Apr 27 '17 at 4:58

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Big assumption the small company will go out of business. Big companies may be less likely to go out of business but they can have layoffs. Your job is not really less stable. – paparazzo Apr 26 '17 at 3:07
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    All big companies were small once. I cannot believe someone thinks that not working could be better than working for a small company. You are defined by your work and loyalty to the company not their bank balance. – PagMax Apr 26 '17 at 4:13
  • @Paparazzi Yes I understand that. My assumption was based not only on the size of the company, but also on the market they are in and the product they are selling - this elements makes me believe that the company won't last long. – noneppp Apr 26 '17 at 4:17
  • @PagMax Yes I agree. If the company were on the path of getting bigger and better I would definitely go there. But it doesn't seem to be the case. Thus my hesitation. And loyalty doesn't mean much if you don't believe in the company (i.e. if i go there it's really not to have a gap on my resume), – noneppp Apr 26 '17 at 4:21
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    "The company [that offered me a job] is not so great and I guess will go bankrupt in 3~4 years at worst." - Seems a presumptuous assessment on your part. However, if it is your best offer so far... – Brandin Apr 26 '17 at 11:28
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If you were a director or executive level person, then the fact that you chose struggling companies might factor in if they fancied themselves a high-achievement group.

Being with that mediocre company isn't going to be a big deal if you have a position that requires that you exercise relevant and valuable work skills. The mediocrity of that company is more a reflection on management.

If it does come up, no one is going to hold "I wanted to be working, and though the company was on shaky ground, there was a trade-off in higher compensation, so I felt that it was an acceptable career choice" against you.

The days of someone starting and finishing with the same company are pretty much gone. Staying with a company for "only" two to three years, especially as a software engineer, is not considered "job-hopping."

All in all, I think HR and managers generally have less questions about someone steadily employed with mediocre companies (most companies are, by definition, not elite) vs someone with gaps.

  • I liked the trade off answer. Seems like the best justification to me if everything go bad again. Thanks! – noneppp Apr 27 '17 at 1:50
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Switching after three months without a good reason -- and from a hiring manager's perspective, "I took this job and figured I would keep looking" is maybe the worst reason you can give, since this is a terrible outcome from their perspective of hiring a new employee -- is the only real negative.

The rest is just about the narrative; resume gaps of 2-3 months are not especially notable. People want to understand why you made the choices that resulted in you bring where you are today. "Bigger" is not at all necessarily "better" with respect to companies, although for sure working for companies which are well-respected in the industry will help when people look over your resume.

  • Thanks for the answer. It's reassuring to know gaps less than 3 months are OK. And indeed it's more about me telling future employers a good narrative... a lot of worry in perspective – noneppp Apr 26 '17 at 4:23
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if you were a hiring manager, which option would look the best for you on a resume? Having 2 small companies on a resume with a good college degree? having some months of unemployment? or switching company after only 3 months (i.e. see 2 companies in less than 2 years)?

Having a small amount of unemployed time after your employer went bankrupt would not be a problem for me, nor would it trouble any hiring managers I know. That sort of thing happens and is completely understandable.

You do want to be careful not to stretch that out too many months though. Choosing to collect unemployment until the "ideal" job happened to come along might come across to some potential employers as laziness. You don't want to project that.

Taking a job that you know you want to leave as soon as possible would be really bad for many hiring managers (it certainly would be for me). That's usually something I don't recommend.

Think hard about what you want. If you want to pursue an MBA in a few years, that's one thing and might make for a good career move. But if you just want to park yourself in the first company that made an offer, yet you plan to leave in a few months, I'd stay away.

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